scope creep

One of the honors my church has given me in the last few months is the privilege of writing study notes to go along with the Sunday Sermon. These notes are then available for use by home groups that meet throughout the week. We’ve been working through 1 Corinthians, and today I’m supposed to be working on the “how do you build on Paul’s foundation” part of chapter 3, but I’m stymied because of how hard this section pulls on my heartstrings. Build the church, man. That is what I am about.

Let me explain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up.

The second time I went to school to learn to be a minister was much better than the first. It was thicker, richer. And one of the first things that I realized was that my charismatic, independent, localized vision for the church was just too small. It didn’t even cover richness and breadth of the interconnected networks of secular society, and the church is greater than that.

Look, Nebuchadnezzar saw it. Daniel tells us his vision about the layered statue, with the golden head and clayey feet. The statue represented the governments of nations, and the stone which destroyed that statue was Jesus Christ. But what is the mountain that came from that stone, if it isn’t the church?

The shape of that mountain is important. It’s a single mountain that covers the entire earth. As I realized once in a conversation with some Mormon missionaries, it’s a single mountain, not a mountain range. So Daniel 2:” the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed, nor shall the kingdom be left to another people. It shall break in pieces all these kingdoms and bring them to an end, and it shall stand forever.” No interruptions. That casts down any assertions that there was a true church, which stopped, and then an intermediate period with no church, or a false church, followed by a restored true church.

At the same time, the mountain is a good deal bigger than the statue. It’s a mountain, not a hill, so it’s taller than the statue, and it clearly covers more ground. I take that to mean that it lasts longer through the generations (hello? forever?), and that it touches more of society. Local congregations, private associations, friendships, national governments… all of these things, inasmuch as they are real and valid ways for people to relate to each other and work together and form a society, will be subsumed in the world-mountain that is the church.

All of it. I can’t read the news without my vision of the church getting bigger. I can’t read about economics without my vision of the church getting better. I can’t think about business, or logistics, or farming, without my vision of the church getting bigger.

And here’s Paul talking about building the church, like it’s all okay. Now, it’s not enough to be a component of God’s active retrofit of all of human civilization, he wants me (us) to build it. That’s exciting. It’s astounding. And it’s not too daunting, because as best I can tell, the church universal is still only made up of the church local. I build up the church by building up my church.

And, hey, look. I get to help build the church by writing review questions for a sermon about building the church. The challenge is following the sermon, and not the pictures in my head. (And the first voice, which I had heard speaking to me like a trumpet, said, “Come up here…”) Talk about scope creep!

Five Years and Counting

I can’t believe that Kyle and I have been married for five years now. If feels like it’s been both longer and shorter at the same time. We have already gone through so many changes together and are about to go through Army life together; time truly goes by faster than we expect. I am so blessed to have him as part of my life. He has been a wonderful husband for me and I thank God for such a special person to spend my life with. I just wish that he was here right now. May the Lord bless your day, and if you are with your loved one, go ahead and smooch and squish them in honor of our anniversary.

Pictures from our wedding can be found in the gallery.

Time Keeps on Slipping Into the Future

I cannot believe how inattentive I can be sometimes. In my defense I am now taking care of two little boys and the toddler is very active. Still, I do believe it is long past due to give an update for family and friends on what’s going on in the lives of the Frenches.

Firstly, Kyle has completed basic training for the army and is currently in his third week at officer training school at Fort Benning, GA. Continue reading “Time Keeps on Slipping Into the Future”

Tick…tick…tick….

Ten weeks and two days until KB leaves for approximately six months. He will have nine weeks of basic training followed by twelve weeks of officer’s training down in Ft. Benning, GA.

We also have eleven weeks and three days until the expected arrival of our newest addition to the family. Seeing as stress levels are going to continue to mount between now and then (especially since I can have up to twenty children on my case load), I would not be surprised if these two countdowns actually end up being closer together than they are.
Continue reading “Tick…tick…tick….”

One side or the other

Since I don’t bother with news from conventional sources, I learned this morning from Doug Wilson that there are folks in Congress actually considering passing a bill that permits open homosexuality in the military, along with his analysis that passing such a law just flips whose activities are illegal. If sodomy is permitted in the military, then Christians who agree with God’s word on sodomy are not. One of us has to be banned to let the other in.

To this I have to add only two thoughts:

  1. November.
  2. Please pray for me as I’m joining the army, that this sort of evil will not go through. And if it does, pray that I’ll have the courage to say what needs to be said at appropriate times, despite the consequences.

What a Rotten Night

David was up every half hour from around 7:30, when he went to bed, until 2:00 , when he had a seizure. Then we took an ambulance to the hospital, where they took a blood sample and told us about what you’d expect: “Wow, that was awful”, and that we should take him to a neurologist, which we already had scheduled. We got back home at 5:45 and took a nap until about 7:15.

I’m going to be a bit frazzled today, I think.

I have an essay now in my mind about the relationship between sin and sickness, but I doubt I’ll have the time.

Need Career Advice

God’s purposes will ripen fast
Unfolding every hour
The bud may have a bitter taste
But sweet will be the flower!

The house fell through. That’s the first thing you need to know. The second thing is that we’re going to have another baby.

When Gideon was confronted by an angel with the task of throwing out the Midianites, he asked for a turn of Providence to make his path clear: He’d throw out a lamb fleece with a challenge: one night, make the the dew fall on the fleece, but leave the ground dry. The second night, make the ground all dewy, and the fleece dry. There’s been a lot said lately against the use of “fleeces” in determining the will of God, but I find that, understood correctly, a fleece can be a very useful thing. In Gideon’s case, attacking the Midianites would have been a very, very foolish thing – apart from a miracle of God. So asking for a little token miracle in advance seems quite reasonable. Of course, most of us aren’t putting our necks on the line for a miracle, so asking for a sign on the same order of the miraculous would be a little presumptuous.

But what’s wrong with taking a few hints from Providence? For instance, if God makes a path clear for you to buy a house, it seems reasonable to conclude that you ought to live there for a year or two. In fact, only sheer bullheadedness would make you even consider taking up a chance to move. On the other hand, not buying a house… makes mobility more of an option. So it is clearly possible by a house to be fleeced. Continue reading “Need Career Advice”